Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Lazerback

So Hasbro decided to bring back the Predacon name and faction for Transformers Prime, Beast Hunters.  The G1 geek inside me was obviously happy when I heard the news.  Then the toys were slowly revealed and my excitement slowly dwindled.  Thanks to a buy one get one 50% sale I grabbed Lazerbeak solely to get the discount.  What happened next even surprised me...I kinda like this toy.  He reminds me a lot of some of the Beast Wars Fuzor toys.  Odd looking and the colors are overly bright and slightly annoying.

I've noticed that a lot of Beast Hunter deluxe toys seem to be crammed inside the blister bubble and Lazerback is a fine example.  The Predacons are supposed to be dragons in the series, but is Lazerback a two legged dragon like Marvel's Fin Fang Foom or is it a dragon at all.  Kinda hard to tell in package, but he does come with a Toxic Strike Blaster!

OK, now this is better.  I'm still not sure if I can classify Lazerback as a dragon, but at least now the buyer can tell that he belongs on all fours instead of standing upright like a bi-pedal creature.  I kinda wish Hasbro would drop the whole Prime Autobot group picture on packaging...seems out of place now.

The first thing that popped in my mind when I took Lazerback of out the packaging was this guy looks like that creature from the old Sega video game, Golden Axe!  OK, so maybe that's not all that accurate, but you can see the similar ties, can't you?

I've really come to enjoy this mold as there are a lot of things to like.  The beast head sculpt looks fantastic.  Loads of articulation in the ankles and feet let you pose him in some good walking/lunging/action poses.  The one thing that bothers me however is the exposed robot forearms/hands as pictured above.  I feel as if the designers should have put a panel to cover this up in some least the purple hand.  Oh well.

Lazerback's Toxic Strike Blaster can peg onto his back while in beast mode for some extra firepower.

In robot mode Lazerback looks pretty thick.  He would give the appearance of being top heavy, especially with the long and skinny "chicken" legs he has.  Thanks to the large hind feet of the dragon, Lazerback can easily support the heft that is centered on the top half of the figure.

The Blaster can stay attached to the back, or can he wielded has a hand held gun.  The tail detaches and acts as a club.  Not the most original idea, but it works.

Lazerback is the weakest of the Predacons released to date, but that doesn't mean you should pass him by all together.  If you don't care for his loud color scheme thankfully you have choices coming soon for this mold.  Takara Tomy's Transformer Go! version of Lazerback has a muted, better metallic color scheme as Gaidora.  Oh yeah, Gaidora has a new head sculpt that I like over Lazerback's.  In typical Hasbro fashion, a redeco of this mold has already been solicited, Vertebreak.  Love the name, not so sure on the tiger-esque deco.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

Its been awhile since I've gotten some really cool stuff for my birthday. I guess when you're getting closer and closer to 40 you just can't expect to get toys anymore on your special day.

This year however things were different.  Not only did I get some baseball cards, but I finally got New Super Brothers U for the Wii U...and today Transformers Beast Hunters Shockwave is finally going home with me!  Yes, growing older has finally paid off!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I've exceeded my bandwidth limits!

Since I'm a novice blogger using bare bones software, I've been using Photobucket to edit and host just about all the pictures you see here on this blog.  I'm cheap so I use the free account.  Problem with that is I only have so much bandwidth per month.  I've already done so many posts this month and had so many views that I've gone over my limit....hence the pictures not showing up.  Photobucket says my bandwidth limits will reset in 10 days (June 30th?) so for now I'm going to postpone a few scheduled posts until next month.  I may pony up the cash for the next level up that gives me unlimited bandwidth (and more than double the storage capacity), but for now this will have to do.  Sorry guys!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

LEGO Legends of Chima: Wakz' Pack Tracker #70004

As much as I like the lion and eagle / raven groups of Chima figures, the wolves were the group that intrigued me the most.  When I saw this set I knew it was one of the first sets I'd buy.  How can you not like the resemblance of the wolf in this 4WD off road vehicle?

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I haven't built a lot of non-City themed sets so I found this a very enjoyable build.  I'm always surprised at how the designers come up with new uses of existing bricks to come to a particular outcome or look.  I'm also still not use to all the moving pieces that modern day LEGO sets feature.  As a kid the toys were mostly static, so with some many "action features" worked into the toys is very appealing to me.  Obviously the Pack Tracker is modeled after wolf's head and the designers absolutely nailed it.  The mouth opens to show off the large white teeth, you can position the "eye brows" however you wish, rotate the large flame spewing engines, fire the rocket or activate the chain claw on the back.  And did I mention the real working suspension?  Awesome.

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Wakz himself can sit in the driver seat located just behind the "eye brows" while his partner, Winzar can man the rotate rocket launcher.  Like most modern LEGO sets, the rocket can launch just by pressing the end.

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Also included in the set is the eagle, Equila.  The back of the box shows her being captured by the chain claw on the back of Pack Tracker as she tries to steal the Chima crystal.  I love how Wakz and Winzar differ in color, even though they both wield the same swords.  The three large claw marks across the face of Winzar is a very nice touch.  For $30 you get a fantastic mid-sized vehicle and 3 minifigures which is an awesome deal in my book.  I've got several more sets that I still need to build so keep your eye out for the next Legends of Chima post.

Monday, June 17, 2013

GI Joe 25th Anniversary: Cobra Sting Raider

One of the dilemmas I had with the original line of G.I. Joe toys growing up wasn't the cost of the toys necessarily, it was the size of the toys - vehicles in particular.  Let's not kid ourselves.  As cool as some of the action figures were, the vehicles and play sets are what made the Joe line of toys so much fun.

Over the last 15 or so years I've been able to acquire a lot of these bulky toys I never owned as a kid.  My favorite purchase was a near complete Terror Drome from an old BigBadToyStore vintage clearance sale.  As with many things I've collected over the years space is always a very valuable commodity and something that I don't always have a lot of.  As I've grown older and shifted my focus back to Transformers, I still have a special place for certain G.I. Joe toys and this is one of them.

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I bought nearly everything released in the 25th Anniversary series of G.I. Joe.  In fact I have all but 3 of the 25th Anniversary Cobra figures, sealed on card, hanging on the wall effectively making a wall paper like border across the top.  While I've liquidated much of the loose stuff recently, I decided to hold onto the Cobra Sting Raider...better known as the Water Moccasin.  I can remember getting the Joe's Killer W.H.A.L.E. vehicle for Christmas one year and always wanting a cobra watercraft to pit against the big hovercraft.  When the Water Moccasin was released I instantly asked my parents for it.  A couple of good report cards later and it was all mine.

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Despite the name change (legal reasons I assume), the new Cobra Sting Raider retains pretty much everything I can remember about the old Water Moccasin.  Most importantly the driver figure was still included and the same great character, Copperhead!

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Copperhead was one of my all time favorite Cobra characters, though I'm not entirely sure why.  Perhaps it was the teal and neon green colored outfit, or the cool looking helmet.  Whatever the reasons I love the new updated 25th Anniversary figure.  Most of the old vehicle driver didn't come with accessories, or at least not weapons.  This new Copperhead however comes packaged with a menacing shotgun.  Now he doesn't have to be inside his watercraft to be armed so watch out Joes!

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I really can't find any major differences with the vehicle itself over the original.  The fan propeller still spins via a small wheel, there are compartments on each side towards the rear, same clear removable canopy on the cockpit, 360 degree rotating gunner's seat, side cannons and even the small torpedo sled underneath the watercraft.  This is a very fun and what I liked about it as a kid and to this day is it's size.  It isn't too small (as it can carry an additional 3 figures), but it isn't too big either.  Honestly I don't understand how full on Joe collectors have enough room to display their collections as large as some of the toys are.  That said this is an excellent walk down memory lane toy and one that should be easily attainable on the secondary market.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Ripclaw

If I'm being honest I wasn't sure what to think about Beast Hunters when I first heard about it.  I kinda laughed when I saw the images of the spiked up Autobots.  I guess one of the problems I have with Beast Hunters are the names.  When I hear the term Predacon or the name Predaking, my mind instantly conjures up images of the G1 Predacons/Predaking.  I mean no disrespect to the Beast Hunters Predacons, but that's just the way it is for this long time Transformers fan.

I will say however that after I got over the abomination that is the voyager Beast Hunters Predaking toy, I was excited to see the deluxe sized Predacons like Ripclaw for instance.

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I hadn't planned on reviewing Ripclaw when I bought her, otherwise I would've snapped a few in package pics first.  Right out of the package though I knew I had a pretty cool toy in hand.  One of the first things I noticed was the swirled plastic.  I hadn't seen this used in quite some time.  My only concern with the swirl is will it compromise the strength of the plastic as the toy ages.  It seems that swirled plastic on older toys has issues so I was a little concerned here.  I actually like the look of the swirls though.

Ripclaw is a decent sized toy.  The large wings and long tail give the figure some extra heft that you don't normally see in this size class.  She has large enough feet to support the size of the figure, but it's also nice that you can position the tail to give the figure some extra stability.

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I love the overall look of the figure, but the head sculpt is the real winner.  When I look at the face it immediately get a Ultron (Marvel Comics) vibe.  Perhaps Hank Pym should've made Ripclaw here for Ultron instead of Jocasta!

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Ripclaw features a very large tail which at first glimpse doesn't look that special.  That makes the tail so interesting is the fact that it features an elastic band inside that gives the tail articulation, but only when you want it to!  What I mean by that is you can re-position the teal links slightly spread apart to allow the articulation.

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You can also remove the large claw off the tip of the tail to use as a hand held weapon.  Push in the gold button in the center of the claw and all three prongs snap close.

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Ripclaw has a beautiful dragon beast mode.  I wouldn't expect such a large alternate mode from the robot mode or even the way she was crammed into the blister bubble packaging.  There is plenty of articulation in the legs and feet, the wings are on hinge joints as well is the jaw.  The rich teal, red and gold colors all mesh together well, but the yellow paint apps are an eye sore.  I had rather those yellow areas be filled in with a darker color like gray or even black.

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Is is an awesome figure and I can't wait to see how Takara Tomy handles this figure for their Transformers Go! series in Japan.  I will mention that I recently finished reading the IDW mini series, Rage of the Dinobots, and this mold was used for a character called Ser-ket.  She featured a more muted color pallet, but was equally nice looking.  As much as Hasbro likes to re-use molds I can see Ripclaw being repainted at some point down the road, especially w/ their recent collaborating with IDW.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Transformers Palisades Statue: Wheeljack

At some point in 2012 I visited a hybrid toy show / trading card show. Most of you know that I also run a trading card blog entitled, Cardboard Collections, so this show was right up my alley. While I didn't happen to find many toys I wanted to buy, Transformers specifically, I did run across one vendor with several of Palisades statues on a back shelf. While I don't fancy myself as a statue or bust collector, I do have two of the Hard Hero Transformers busts and the full size Beast Wars Rhinox statue in my collection. The Palisades statues however have always intrigued me with their detailed sculpts, but the prices have always made me steer away. I was able to grab Wheeljack for the low low price of $20 so I pulled the trigger.

The packaging is rather plain, but still attractive. The addition of the red grid pattern harkens back to the G1 days. I'm sure there were some cross sell images on the back of the box, but I forgot to take pictures.

What surprised me about the figure when I opened the box to inspect it before handing over the money was the fact that the statue needed "assembly". What I mean by that is the arms were packaged in a separate compartment in the styrofoam tray. On the inside of each shoulder was one small metal pin that stuck out ever so far. You had to insert the pin into the body of the statue to complete it's look. This also allowed you to "pose" the figure to some degree. The large battle damaged Autobot symbol that acts as a stand also had to be attached underneath the statue.

I really wasn't expecting these features, but was impressed as it takes a ordinary statue and infuses just enough of the action figure element. While I ultimately decided not to keep Wheeljack, I am glad I finally got to experience one in person. Had I multiple Detolf cabinets to display these Palisades Transformer statues in then perhaps I'd collect them, but as it is one man can only have so many toys.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Twinstrike (Cyberverse)

I recently decided to purge 99% of the various Cyberverse toys from my collection, but there are few I'm keeping and this is one of them.

For long time Transformers fans it's easy to see that Twinstrike here is really the G1 Terrorcon, Sinnertwin. I'm guessing Hasbro has lost the rights to yet another G1 name, this the new name. Twinstrike however fits the character so no complaints here. I had heard that the Terrorcons would be released in a Target exclusive gift set as Abominus, but I had no idea they would also be released individually. Later I saw that the Target set featured translucent plastic...which on these guys I just don't care for, so that makes me even happier to have this stand alone version.

I gotta say this is one cool little toy. Hasbro absolutely nailed the colors when it comes to matching his G1 self.  The updated look makes him look even fiercer than before. Now I just need to find a little Decepticon symbol sticker to fit over that Predacon symbol and his look will be complete!

It it just me or do a lot of the new Transformers come with melee type weapons instead of guns? I grew up playing with toy guns and I turned out normal...well kind of. Anyhow, Sinnertwin Twinstrike comes with his trusty Piston Hammer. It's not bad, but it's not a gun either.

Before we get to his beast mode, let's see how he compares to his G1 self. Shorter, check. Less screw holes on the front, check. Spot on colors check. More articulation, check plus. As much as I love G1, I also love seeing these classic characters from my childhood re-imagined and upgraded with today's toy making technology.

I know the whole Predacon theme in Beast Hunters is dragons, but I refuse to call Twinstrike a dragon.  e looks more like a cerberus in my opinion, albeit a mean and evil robotic cerberus. There is a good bit of poseability in this small figure. Hinge joints comprise the "elbows and knees" and the back feet are attached via ball joints. Sadly the 2 necks aren't articulated, but I imagine it to be possible if this was a deluxe sized figure.

I can't wait to find the other 4 Beast Hunter versions of the Terrorcons and merge them all together to form Abominus. Twinstrike on all accounts is an excellent Cyberverse figure and one that I just couldn't part with.

Monday, June 10, 2013

the Avengers: Skrull Soldier

Last summer's the Avengers movie was the summer blockbuster most of us fans were hoping that it be.  Of course Hasbro was going to try and cash in with their own series of action figures.  As with the previous two series of Iron Man figures & the Captain America series, the Avengers had figures based on both the movie designs as well as the comics.  I opted to stay away from the movie stuff only because I'm not made of money and just pick up the occasional comic figure.  Over the last handful of years I've grown to really like and appreciate what Marvel has done with their cosmic characters and the stories.  From Annihilation to Realm of Kings to War of Kings and eventually the whole Thanos stuff, the cosmic stuff has had me hooked.  All that said I was excited when I saw that a cool looking Skrull had made it in the Avengers series.

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At first glance I loved the figure.  I could tell this Skrull looked like he ate more of his veggies as he seemed "thicker" than the previously released Skrull in the Marvel Universe line.  I wasn't sure what to make of his double-blade axe weapon, but I gave him a chance.

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The Skrull Soldier was released in the 2nd wave (?) and most people were actively looking for the Scarlett Johansson Black Widow figure and to some lesser degree, Hawkeye.  At first this figure seemed plentiful, then the supplies started to dry up.  Were fans possibly troop building?

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While the included axe weapon looks a little big in the Skrull's hands, it's not a horrible looking weapon.  Although when I think of Skrulls I don't think of them using melee weapons...Super Skrull aside.  The axe can also conveniently be stored on his back, a feature I love.

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The blades from the axe can be removed and used for a more hand to hand style combat.  The center of the axe blade has a handle for a figure to grip.  I assume the axe handle can double as a spear type weapon.

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I much prefer the new headsculpt over the Skrull that was first released in the Marvel Universe series.  While the blue and purple armor may not suit everyone, I still prefer it over the MU's costume.  It may not be comic accurate, but as I said in my intro the Avengers Skrull just looks beefier.

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Do you like the MU Skrull better, but like the Avengers headsculpt?  No problem!  Thanks to the construction of these figures the head simply pops off exposing the ball joint underneath.  Switch the two heads and now you have a more traditional looking Skrull to take on the Fantastic Four or any other Marvel hero.

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If you are a fan of Skrulls, cosmic characters or just a big Marvel fan in general then this is a great figure to own.  He blends in well with figures from any of the Marvel movies and with the Marvel Universe series.  Who knows, perhaps this figure's inclusion in the Avengers line of toys is a pre-cursor of what is to happen in Avengers 2?!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Transformers Bot Shots: Sentinel Prime (Super Bot)

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When Hasbro first launched their Bot Shots line I wasn't sure what to I bought everything in the first wave.  The Super Bots were meant to be a "chase" figure, meaning they were packaged less frequently as their case mates.  Turns out these so called chase figures weren't that hard to find, but at the time I didn't know that.  Even though this figure is Sentinel Prime from the Dark of the Moon movie, I bought him anyway *sigh*.

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Sentinel Prime comes from the first wave of Bot Shots so his crash/transformation feels very familiar.  Push in the front of the vehicle and out pops the arms and feet.  All of the Super Bots are cast in translucent plastic giving them a distinct look, but their power rankings don't seem any more elevated versus regular releases.

My guess is Hasbro did the Super Bots to make the line more collectible because I see no advantages of using a Super Bot in the actual game.  This little guy (and a few others I have) are going to be given away at Charticon later this summer as we plan to have open tables for kids to have a pick up game of Bot Shots.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rock Lords: Narliebat & Narlielion

You don't have to be a fan of Rock Lords to have seen the toys of their "pets", the Rock Narlies.  The Narlies can still be found in new, unopened packaging online for reasonable prices.  What some people don't know is there was a 2nd series of Rock Narlies.  These critters very rarely pop up on eBay and when they do, they tend to be a little pricey.

Years ago I found a UK dealer that had two of the 3 Narlies from series 2 and I scored them each for a song.  I actually don't remember what I paid for them now, but I'm pretty sure I grabbed both for less than $20 shipped.

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Narliebat looks really nice.  From the sharp teeth to the big pointed ears (hidden in the blue green fur).  If you pull up the fur you can see molded wings on each side.  I was a little disappointed to see that the tip of the tail had been snapped off when I pull Narliebat out of the shipping box.

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Narlielion is one of my favorite Narlies.  The lion head/face features a great sculpt and unlike Narliebat, Narlielion's tail is fully intact.

You have to be a hard core Rock Lords fan to really appreciate these toys.  I liked them as a kid and I still find them fascinating today as an adult.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Micro Machines: Travel City Bridge

Several years ago my wife and I found a bunch of the original Galoob Micro Machines on clearance at Toys R Us.  Growing up playing with die-cast cars, including Micro Machines, I couldn't pass up the opportunity at buying the discounted play sets.  For years these just sat in the top of the fact they are still there sitting.  However when I had to move my toy room to another room in our home I came across these forgotten pieces.

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My original idea for those sets was to build my own Micro Machines city.  What kid didn't dream of doing that back in the day?  So I set out to look online for other smaller sets to add to all of these that were yet to be opened.  My searches yielded all sorts of results, but the only thing that popped up that I fondly remembered were the fold and go style Travel City sets.

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I found this Travel City set, simply called 'Bridge', in it's original box for super cheap.  Inside the box was even an additional two Micro Machine vehicles not originally included.  While the Travel City sets were lots of fun, especially if you owned multiple sets, this set in particular always made me scratch my head.  I don't remember seeing any other sets that contained water.  As you can see the water goes all the way to the edge of the square platform making it hard to use this piece with the traditional city themed sets.

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If you aren't already familiar with the Travel City sets, the whole idea of them was that you can disassemble the set and fold it up so you can take your fun with you wherever you go.  All of the pieces are supposed to fit inside the platform when folded in half.  However sometimes you have to arrange every piece just right in order to get the thing closed!

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While this set may not be the most exciting, there are a few play elements going on here.  First off the bridge itself does lift up my pressing the yellow tab that extends out the toll area.  There are also three little docks that you can park the included boat at.

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As a stand alone set it leaves a lot to be desired and there are much nicer sets to acquire first, but I suppose if you want a large Travel City diorama then I'm sure you could find a place to work in the Bridge.